Children’s Book Review: Little Bigfoot, Big City

photo by @ElizabethLaban

Little Bigfoot, Big City by Jennifer Weiner, is a middle-grade tale that blends fantasy with everyday life, exploring the themes of friendship and feelings of belonging. Its quirky characters, mystery and drama will keep readers engaged. The sequel to The Littlest Bigfoot, it can also be read as a stand alone novel.

The story’s two protagonists, twelve-year old Alice Mayfair and her Bigfoot best friend, Millie Maximus, are both on a mission. But while Alice’s mission is to undercover the secret of her past and live in the woods amongst the Bigfoots, Millie’s mission is to prepare for a future in New York city as a singer onstage. Their friendship is tested when Millie befriends popular Jessica Jarvis, who helps Millie enter a singing contest – and Alice befriends Jeremy Bigelow, who helps Alice uncover what may be the real truth of her not-so-human history. But readers will find that this story takes some unexpected paths, leading both Alice and Millie to make some new discoveries. Their discoveries show them that while they are individuals with different dreams, they are also friends who are alike in many ways.

Readers who enjoyed the first book in the series, Littlest Bigfoot, will no doubt want to continue on this journey with Alice & Millie in Little Bigfoot, Big City. The ups & downs that the girls go through are relatable and will strike a chord with many young readers. The question of our humanity as well as our selves – who we are and what we dream of doing – is one that will resonate with many as well.

At its heart, this book is about looking past our differences in order to understand and live in the world together, and that is a message that I think should earn this book a place on many middle-school library shelves. The addition of the well-known historical mystery of Bigfoots and a secret (and possibly sinister?) government organization into the plot gives the book a unique flavor that will intrigue many students as well. A middle-grade novel that is poignant, fresh, and mysterious – Little Bigfoot, Big City is a book to share with the tweens in your life.

*Note* I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review from @KidlitExchange.

Review Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2165157677

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich

Children’s Book Review: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street 


The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, by Lindsay Currie, is a middle-grade suspense novel that will give you chills and tickle your funny bone. In it, we meet seventh-grader Tessa and her quirky, artistic & loveable family. When her father’s new job with the Chicago Symphony moves them from Florida to Illinois, the novel embarks on a storyline that will be familiar to many readers: the upheaval of Tessa’s comfortable routine, leaving behind her best friend, and the tension of starting a new school in an unfamiliar place where she doesn’t know anyone. But what makes this story unique is its basis in a real Chicago ghost story in history, and because I grew up near Chicago, I remembered it. This made the experience of reading the novel even more fascinating for me, but the mysterious ways in which Currie drops clues will keep all readers interested.

Not long after Tessa and her family have moved into their Chicago home, a greystone that is over a hundred years old, she begins seeing and hearing unusual, creepy things. Her mother’s art supplies go inexplicably missing, there are mysterious drawings in her sketchpad, crying sounds in the night, and her brother’s ventriloquist dummy doll cries real tears. There is a goosebump chill factor to Currie’s writing that recalls R.L. Stine, and in fact there are small references in the book to 90s pop culture that seem to let readers know what the writer herself may have had experience with growing up. As an adult reader, these type of finds within a children’s book are delicious. For young readers, I imagine it could lead them to new and interesting things!

Beyond the excitement of things that go bump in the night, the strength of this novel is in its characters and their developing friendships. Tessa’s new friends – Andrew, Nina & Richie – each have unique personalities that spark off the page. In a book that could have focused completely on solving the mystery of Tessa’s haunted house, it also became a story about the importance of friendship. Tessa’s friends play an integral part in her journey of beginning a new school, learning to navigate a new city and helping her solve a mystery over a century old. Also deserving of a mention is that there is a girl who hangs a bit on the edges of Tessa’s new friendships – Cassidy, a girl who isn’t immediately welcoming and Tessa doesn’t know why. Though not given a lot of attention, this part of the story is important because it is through a challenging relationship like this that middle-grade readers will feel the story’s reality. Middle school is tough,. Making new friends is tough. Understanding our differences is….really tough. But, as Tessa learns, seeing our truths is important.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street is ultimately a book about challenge, independence, friendship and the importance of figuring out who we really are. These seemingly heavy topics are made lighter by wrapping them inside of a spine-tingling ghost story. Kids will love the laughs, chills and moments of sweetness it brings, and hopefully look beyond the book for information on the real Chicago ghost legend itself. When I finished the book, it made me nostalgic to return home myself, and perhaps visit Graceland Cemetery to see the famed statue of one brave girl. But before I make the journey, I’ll be sure to call my friends.

*Review based on ARC copy received from NetGalley.

https://www.netgalley.com/book/112004/review/424591

Also posted on Goodreads and Instagram @KidlitExchange. Book publishing release date 10/10/17.

Goodreads Review Link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2089732519

Instagram Review @suzieandjack @kidlitexchange

❤️📚Book Review! The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, by Lindsay Currie, is a middle-grade suspense novel that will give you chills and tickle your funny bone. In it, we meet seventh-grader Tessa and her quirky, artistic & loveable family. When her father's new job with the Chicago Symphony moves them from Florida to Illinois, the novel embarks on a storyline that will be familiar to many readers: the upheaval of Tessa's comfortable routine, leaving behind her best friend, and the tension of starting a new school in an unfamiliar place where she doesn't know anyone. But what makes this story unique is its basis in a real Chicago ghost story in history, and because I grew up near Chicago, I remembered it. This made the experience of reading the novel even more fascinating for me, but the mysterious ways in which Currie drops clues will keep all readers interested. Not long after Tessa and her family have moved into their Chicago home, a greystone that is over a hundred years old, she begins seeing and hearing unusual, creepy things. Her mother's art supplies go inexplicably missing, there are mysterious drawings in her sketchpad, crying sounds in the night, and her brother's ventriloquist dummy doll cries real tears. There is a goosebump chill factor to Currie's writing that recalls R.L. Stine, and in fact there are small references in the book to 90s pop culture that seem to let readers know what the writer herself may have had experience with growing up. As an adult reader, these type of finds within a children's book are delicious. For young readers, I imagine it could lead them to new and interesting things! Beyond the excitement of things that go bump in the night, the strength of this novel is in its characters and their developing friendships. Tessa's new friends – Andrew, Nina & Richie – each have unique personalities that spark off the page. Read my full review on Netgalley or Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2089732519 Thank you to @netgalley and @kidlitexchange for this ARC. Publishing date 10/10/17! #bookreview #middlegrade #mystery #peculiarincident #kidlit #readwithyourkids #tigerkingdom #repost @meetmissmagee

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Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich